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The Green Bay Packers have lost both of their starting offensive tackles for some time this year, but the Packers are still 8-0.
Because, the players that have filled in have done their jobs. Ted Thompson utilized the 2010 and 2011 NFL drafts to shore up the quality depth at that position.
Going into the 2010 season, the Packers were starting two guys who had come out of the 2000 NFL draft and had been bookends for the offensive line of the Packers for over a decade. I'm speaking of LT Chad Clifton and RT Mark Tauscher.
In the 2010 NFL draft, Thompson selected OT Bryan Bulaga in the first round and then OT Marshall Newhouse in the fifth round. Bulaga ended up starting most of the season at RT, after Tauscher went down with a shoulder injury and ended up on injured reserve. Bulaga more than held his own at RT, although he was up and down a bit at times.
Newhouse didn't see any game action in 2010 and then ended up on IR after a back injury in late December.
In 2011, Thompson used his first round pick on OT Derek Sherrod. Sherrod received an opportunity to get some work at G, just like Bulaga had done the year before in training camp, but it was soon very apparent that Sherrod was a much better OT.
But, it was Newhouse that opened the eyes of the coaching staff in training camp and in essence he became the team's third offensive tackle. When Bulaga missed two games after a knee injury, it was Newhouse who filled in admirably.
Then in the Atlanta game, Clifton went down with a severe hamstring pull. Newhouse moved to LT, while Sherrod played RT. After a few anxious moments, both played well enough to see the Packers come back to win 25-14, after trailing by two touchdowns.
Bulaga returned to start at RT for the St. Louis game, while Newhouse still remains at LT until Clifton is cleared to return. Bottom line, Thompson has made OT a much deeper and talented position based on his work in the last two NFL drafts.